Research Paper By Gaëlle Bovy
(Career and Well Being Coach, THAILAND)
Balance in life is a word we hear more and more often. In our current context, high stress levels are more present than ever before.
We might think we have more possibilities to be happy these days because we are free to choose the type of job we want, the love partner we like, the food we want to eat, the car we want to drive, the place in the world we want to live, etc. We have access to everything almost instantly, and yet life isn’t easy.
We might have more freedom than ever, but yet people are more lost because of too many options. We are free to choose jobs we want but we end up working so many hours, fulfilling the dream of somebody else, that we are too tired or busy to think about our own. We might be an entrepreneur working on our big ideas but we end up working so hard that we are forgetting about our health, friends, partners or families along the way.
We are living in a society where we are taking on roles as parents, spouse, lover, worker, friend, and we have been asked to perform them well, all at the same time! This is why we end-up stretching ourselves so much, wanting to do everything perfectly. On the way we are encountering difficulties as normal human beings and yet when they are persistent or long-lasting, this prevents us from feeling happy, healthy or balanced in our life.
The pressure can come from external factors (our living environment, our boss, our education, our family,…) or from internal factors (the pressure we put on ourselves to conform to certain ideals or certain criterias from our education). At the same time, there is limited place for talking about difficulties or our concerns. We are all living in an era where external image is very important. Just have a look on social media and see what others are projecting from their lives.
We sometimes spend too much time taking care about non significant small details and it results in limiting time for taking care of ourselves, experience quality moments with our relatives or our friends.
As you have probably experienced, finding a balance is challenging and it isn’t something static, life is in motion and so are you. The best you can do is find some balance that works for you, so you can move forward while encountering happiness, health, peace of mind and alignment with your true self.
What are the key factors for a balanced life?
I strongly believe our mind, our body and our spirit are key components of our balance and that they are all permanently inter-connected.
Our Body is the material part of our human being, our physical presence on earth. It’s our cells, tissues, organs.
The body is nourished through diet, your way of living, your environment, your activities, the way you connect and the way you take care of yourself.
Our thoughts can have a positive influence on our body (like meditation leads to relaxation) or a negative influence (excessive stress that leads to pain in our body) and vice versa, just as feeling well in our body after one hour of exercise helps to clear the mind and be positive.
Our Mind is a set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, perception, thinking, judgment, and memory.
The mind is the faculty of a human being’s reasoning and thoughts (and so our beliefs). It holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions*.
Our mind organizes the world around us with our perceptions of reality. We develop attention and consciousness which is guided by our attention towards various stimuli. We are shaping our reality, taking actions due to our thoughts and this becomes our reality, our journey through life. It is therefore important to be aware of what is going on in your mind.
Research into human thought says that the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.
These numbers show that our thoughts play a big part in our experience and the immense impact they have on the quality of our life. At the same time, we can’t deny the impact of these thoughts on our body while experiencing headaches, pain or fatigue after a stressful situation.
Our Spirit in this context, is defined as the essence of who and what we are, it’s the truth of what we are. It’s our capacity to see that our lives are not simply day-to-day, that we are here for a purpose, a purpose of being here to accomplish something. It’s also our connectedness to something larger than ourselves, the experience of feeling we are all connected. Many people will turn to a higher power, and it could be a God, higher force or mother earth.
Most people go through life believing that they are this story, that they are the thoughts they are thinking, instead of the essence that is experiencing those thoughts. That’s why it’s so important to understand who we are in essence, deep inside us. Understanding our mission in life, our purpose, our values and special gifts will connect us to our spirit, to this shiny part of ourselves.
When people have a higher purpose in mind, living a life of passion and connectedness has endless possibilities. When people are aligned with a sense of purposes, their values, their true self, they are existing in a dierent way. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin stated,
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
This reinforces the belief that our spiritual life aects our emotions, our minds and body.
Mind, Body, Spirit means that our well-being comes from not just physical health, but from mental health and spiritual health as well. To be “healthy”, we must pay attention to all three aspects of our nature…mind, body and spirit.
Take for example a moment where you meditate in a beautiful place as the nature in the morning. In such a place, the power is that nature and the meditation helps us to de-stress, to connect to something that is much larger than ourselves because of the serenity that connects with us. This action is nourishing to your spirit, bringing you peace of mind, and it also relaxes tension in your body. It helps you to go through your day armed to meet your busy schedule, to deal problems at work with more distance and to respond rather than react.
This is just one example of connection between the spirit, the body and the mind.
Achieving fulfillment and balance in life is strongly related to the experience you are having in your
mind, body and spirit. All three are conditioning our experience of life either positively or negatively.
The interesting thing when looking at the three components is that you can create a positive circle in people’s life and work with them in a holistic coaching approach. To reach a level of fulfillment and balance, you need to have a decent satisfaction level in all three. This will help you to continue moving forward even though all aspects are not perfectly satisfied. If two out of the three areas are going well, you will most likely continue your ride in the right direction, it will be easier for you to have this fulfilling life and pick up on the third one. If only one out of the three aspects is fulfilled, you will encounter diculties throughout the day, and you will end up in a negative cycle feeling bad, stressed and unhappy.
Balance is about saying no and saying yes to what matters the most so that you can honor your needs. It’s about restoring flow, taking actions on today’s issues in a way that brings them back into alignment, fulfillment and so happiness.